Dear Porky and Buddy,
My cat, Sophie, is 16 years old and I suspect that I don’t have much longer to spend with her. No disease or anything that I know of, but she just seems to be slowing down. She has always been a little cranky but seems to be much more mellow now. What can I do to make her last years the best years possible? Boy, do I miss that crankiness some days!
This is the sad reality of living with pets. We mostly outlive them and if we really want pets in our lives for the long-run, we have to accept a lot of sorrow when they die.
And we hope you really want pets in your life for the long-run.
The most important thing you can do for Sophie is to minimize any discomfort she’s experiencing at the end of her life. First, if you haven’t done this already, make sure she gets a check up with your veterinarian, because undiagnosed medical problems can cause suffering and deterioration unrelated to aging.
We suspect that Sophie sleeps a lot. Since pressure sores can develop in pets with limited mobility, make sure that she has a nice warm sleeping spot with plenty of cushioning.
Like your bed.
Make sure too that she has easy access to her favorite things like a special toy (or your lap).
How do you know whether Sophie’s quality of life is actually getting worse?
You have already seen a change in her behavior – less crankiness.
Pay attention to everything you notice.
Does she ever seem restless or confused?
Has she lost her appetite or does she drink a lot more water than usual?
Does she avoid her favorite activities or seek out strange places to sleep or hide?
Irregular behavior patterns are often the first sign that a pet is ill or in pain.
Sophie may lose her normal activity levels, appetite and grooming tendencies, or she may exhibit inappropriate elimination, vocalization and aggression.
If you’re unsure of whether or how much Sophie is suffering, keep a daily record of good days and bad days.
This will help you see patterns and possibly figure out ways to help her.
It will also help your veterinarian advise you as to how much she may be suffering.
Remember that a lot of animals, especially cats, never exhibit the usual signs that humans associate with pain, so it can be hard to judge.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian for help and advice as you complete this journey with Sophie.
It will be hard, but it has to be done.
And, if nothing else, remember to kiss Sophie a lot!!
And, on a happier note related to kissing, share the love at the Be My Valentine Adoption Celebration on February 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the PetSmart Store in Lowe’s Plaza in Oswego.
Cats of all shapes, sizes, colors and personalities looking for forever homes.
Some will be kissers — some won’t.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Located at 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!